Meditating on the Law

In a comment posted on Things and Reasons my grandfather-in-law, Dave quoted a great passage from the First Psalm:

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

He did not include this but the passage goes on to say:

The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

I started to share my thoughts on this in the original comment thread but I wanted to emphasize it in it’s own post. I read through the entire psalm and what we see is a comparison between the righteous and unrighteous. And what is the main difference David is emphasizing? It appears to be where one seeks council. The godly seem to seek counsel in the Law of the Lord, and the ungodly seek it from, well, the ungodly. I just wanted to point out a couple things that I thought could be gleaned from this passage:

  • David seems to be talking about a lifestyle of studying the Law – meditating on it day and night (all the time)
  • David seems to be saying it is not enough to just study the Law as a mental exercise but to love it
  • David recognizes that the Law is “of the Lord,” so it would make sense that his love for the Law flows from his love for the Lawgiver
  • David recognizes that it is not us who change ourselves but God who changes us. We are simply planted by the river, it is the river (God’s revelation to us through the Law?) that makes the plant grow, not the plant making itself grow.
  • By saying that the ungodly are like chaff blown away by the wind, one might assume that the trees planted by the river will be able to withstand the wind (life struggles?)*

If it is acceptable to assume when David refers to the Law we can refer to the entirety of Scripture than obviously this passage has pretty significant relevance. Can this be assumed? This is not an exegesis of Psalm 1, just some thoughts that popped into my head. Maybe I took liberty with the meaning, if so please correct me. I would hate to imply meaning where it is not found. I do however think these are some great points to consider when we open up the Scriptures. Thanks for sharing that passage Dave!

*I know the last point doesn’t start out with “David.” Sorry for the inconsistency. I have never been good at alliteration.

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

7 responses to “Meditating on the Law

  • Bob

    I think it’s true that to meditate and love the word of God will enable you to endure the storms of this life. There is also a deeper theme here that many overlook. Lurking behind the text is THE blessed man, that is, Christ. When read this way the text has some very interesting insights. Such as:
    – Compare the first verses with the temptation of Jesus when the enemy was trying to get Jesus to walk in the counsel of the ungodly (turn stone to bread), stand in the way of sinners (throw yourself down), sit in the seat of the scornful(I will give you all this)
    – Every thought and word of Jesus was based on His meditation in the scripture.
    – He is the planted tree that brings forth it’s fruit in it’s season. At the fullness of time God sent his Son into the world.
    – His leaf shall not wither. Speaks of the resurrection and eternal life.
    In fact Christ is the central theme of God’s entire story of redemption.
    Through our union with Christ we rest in the shade of the Blessed Man.

  • Dan Allen

    That is interesting Bob. What makes you think to connect this particular passage to Christ specifically?

    -Dan

    • Bob

      I guess two main reasons would bring me to this conclusion. The perfect manhood of Christ. When I look at a passage like this, I see a man who walks in perfect harmony with the Law of God. There is only one who ever did that.
      Secondly throughout the psalms, there are allusions to Christ so it would not be without precedent to see this Psalm as a description of the Messiah to come. Also Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and as such He completely fulfills the description of the blessed man.

      Another view I like to take on this Psalm is to see it as a description of those who walk after the Spirit. As Paul said, “I delight in the Law of God in the inward man.” Ezekiel say’s that God will write his Law in our hearts. When we are following after the spirit we will not follow after ungodly counsel. We will be like trees planted by a river,bringing forth fruit in season. Very reminiscent of the vine and the branches. Only as we abide in Him will be bear fruit.

      The Psalms are so rich in meaning, pluming the depths of them is a lifetime pursuit.

  • Mark

    Bob,

    I loved your comment, as all of history was culminated in Christ, and ultimately points to Christ.

    Dan,

    Great post. I agree with your correlation between “the law” in Psalms and “scripture’, although I would broaden that to equate the law with Christ, as Christ is the fulfillment of the law. I loved what you said about love of the law flowing from love for the giver of the law. This ability to see past the law to see the law giver is, to me, what allowed David to foresee the forgiveness of his sins, even though the sacrifice of Christ was many years into the future. He could see his failure to keep the law, but understand that his love for the giver of the law, and his faith in the God, would result in his salvation. He understood Christ before Christ came, because of that elevated sight, so to speak.

  • Dan Allen

    Bob

    I like what you say about the perfection of Christ and his perfect walking in the Law of the Lord. That really helped me to understand what you were driving at initially! Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on to things!

    Mark

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. You really clarified some things for me. Christ did come to fulfill the law so it makes sense to me now that we would see him in this passage, and what you say about David seeing his forgiveness in Christ. Without seeing that all we see is death in the Law, but with that understanding of the Messiah who came to fulfill the Law we see hope and peace!

    Great comments guys! thanks!

    -Dan

  • Thursday Thoughts | Called Out In Kansas

    […] Meditating on the Law | The Ekklesia in Southern Maine. […]

  • randi

    enjoying the discussion – thanks 🙂

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